Love days later had another interview, the last for which they could hope for a long time.
"Miss Newcome, does the view of the courtyard please you? The old trees and the garden are better. That dear old faun without a nose! I must have a sketch of him; the creepers round the base are beautiful."
Miss N.: I was looking to see if the carriage had come for me. It is time that I returned home.
Miss N.: A fortnight ago you said you were going to London.
Clive: It were best I had gone.
Miss N.: If you think so, I cannot but think so.
Clive: Why do I stay and hover about you and follow you? You know I follow you. Can I live on a smile vouchsafed twice a week, and no brighter than you give to all the world? What do I get, but to hear your beauty praised, and to see you, night after night, happy and smiling and triumphant, the partner of other men? Does it add zest to your triumph to think that I behold it? I believe that you would like a crowd of us to pursue you.
Miss N.: To pursue me; and if they find me alone by chance, to compliment me with such speeches as you make? That would be pleasure indeed. Answer me here in return, Clive. Have I ever disguised from any of my friends the regard I have for you? Why should I? Have not I taken your part when you were maligned? . Do you think I have not had hard enough words said to me about you, but you must attack me, too, in turn? Last night only, because you were at the ball - it was very wrong of me to tell you I was going there - as we went home, Lady Kew------go, sir. I never thought you would have seen in me this humiliation.
Clive: Is it possible that I should have made Ethel Newcome shed tears? Oh, dry them, dry them. Forgive me, .... I should be proud, not angry, that they admire my Ethel - my sister, if you can be no more.....
Clive: Why should I wish to have a great genius? Yes, there is one reason why I should like to have it.
Ethel: And that is?
Clive: To give it you, if it pleased you, Ethel. But I might wish for the roc's egg; there is no way of robbing the bird. I must take a humble place, and you want a brilliant one. A brilliant one! Oh, Ethel, what a standard we folks measure fame by! To have your name in the "Morning Post," and to go to three balls every night. To have your dress described at the Drawing Room; and your arrival, from a round of visits in the country, at your town house; and the entertainment of the Marchioness of Farin------ethel: Sir, if you please, no calling names.
Clive: I wonder at it. For you are in the world, and you love the world, whatever you may say.....
Ethel: And - and - you will never give up painting?
Clive: No - never. That would be like leaving your friend who was poor; or deserting your mistress because you were disappointed about her money. They do these things in the great world, Ethel.
Ethel (with a sigh): Yes.
Clive: If it is so false and base and hollow, this great world - if its aims are so mean, its successes so paltry, the sacrifices it asks of you so degrading, the pleasures it gives you so wearisome, shameful even, why does Ethel Newcome cling to it? Will you be fairer, dear, with any other name than your own? Will you be happier, after a month, at bearing a great title with a man you can't esteem, tied for ever to you, to be the father of Ethel's children, and the lord and master of her life and actions? . Last week, as we walked in the garden here, and heard the nuns singing in their chapel, you said how hard it was that poor women should be imprisoned so, and were thankful that in England we had abolished that slavery. Then you cast your eyes to the ground, and mused.....
Ethel: Yes, I did. I was thinking that almost all women are made slaves one way or other, and that those poor nuns perhaps were better off than we are.
A Girl's Duty
Clive: I never will quarrel with nun or matron for following her vocation. But for our women, who are free, why should they rebel against Nature, shut their hearts up, sell their lives for rank and money, and forgo the most precious right of their liberty? Look, Ethel, dear. 1 love you so, that if I thought another had your heart, an honest man, a loyal gentleman, like - like him of last year even, I think I could go back with a God bless you, and take to my pictures again, and work on in my humble way. You seem like a queen to me, somehow; and I am but a poor, humble fellow, who might be happy, I think, if you were.....
Ethel: You spoke quite scornfully of palaces just now, Clive. I won't say a Word about the - the regard which you express for me. I think you have it; indeed, 1 do. But it were best not said, Clive; best for me, perhaps, not to own that I know it. In your speeches, my poor boy, and you will please not to make any more, or I never can see you or speak to you again, never - you forget one part of a girl's duty; obedience to her parents.....now do you see, brother, why you must speak to me so no more? There is the carriage. God bless you, dear Clive.